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New £1.65m McLaren BP23: 720S mule spotted testing hypercar's centre-seat layout

Published: 28 September 2017

 Next-gen McLaren hypercar out testing
 Centre-seated Big Mac codenamed BP23
► All 106 of the limited run already accounted for 

McLaren Automotive has trickled out some more juicy details on the new McLaren BP23 hypercar - its next Ultimate Series model. 

A test mule, using the body of a McLaren 720S, is currently being used to try out the centre-seat layout that Woking has promised for its new hypercar, and even investigating new technologies on how to make the seating system work.

This particular 720S mule is testing a digital wing mirror system that may make it into the production car using screens mounted on the roof lining.

CAR also understands that McLaren has finalised the BP23's hybrid powertrain, and that its claim of being the 'fastest-ever McLaren' will be achieved. 

McLaren BP23 test mule centre seat

The BP23 will blend that three-seat layout with the pursuit of speed ethos of McLaren’s F1 supercar with the most advanced hybrid powertrain and luxurious cockpit the company has ever produced. 

The hyper GT, which will cost from £1.65m plus tax, arrives with its rarefied customers in 2019.

McLaren BP23: the first look

McLaren today (22 March 2017) issues a rear three-quarter sketch of BP23, which it has already shared with the 106 customers who've put down desposits on the hyper-GT. Why 106? That's the same number as the entire production run of the 1992 McLaren F1 (below).

The sketch shows a teardrop silhouette that looks more slippery than a lard-dunked politician. Expect BP23 to build on the new 720S's philosophy of 360-degree visibility: those rear pillars look like they incorporate glass sections, to improve the view over the driver's shoulder.  

Mike Flewitt, McLaren Automotive CEO, said: ‘It will be the most powerful, most advanced hybrid powertrain we’ve ever done, inside a low-drag, super aero-efficient body: BP23 will be the fastest car we’ve ever made.’ This combination of aerodynamic efficiency and powerful hybrid drivetrain – surely with in excess of 1000bhp – will help it eclipse the F1's legendary 240mph.

It'll be faster ‘than all McLaren road cars,’ Flewitt recently told CAR. ‘But if I go out and announce a top speed now, my friend John Hennessey will go out and build something faster! Will it be the fastest from 0 to 100kmh? Probably not because that's quite traction limited. But faster from 0 to 200kmh, 300kmh, fastest top speed? Hey, let's find out...’

McLaren F1

Customers will soon begin the process of speccing their hyper GTs, and McLaren’s special projects division, MSO, will have the job of creating the bespoke paints and materials to match the outliers of customers’ imaginations.

Dramatic doors - and three seats

Expect the dihedral doors to remove a portion of the roof for easy access, as on the freshly unveiled 720S, but they will be powered to make life easy on McLaren’s next flagship. 

‘With three seats, it’s a homage to the F1,’ continued Flewitt. ‘But if ever there was a replacement for the F1, it was the P1.’ That 903bhp hybrid supercar, produced from 2013 to 2015, posted a 217mph top speed.

‘With BP23, there are no track cars, no spider versions: as a road car it’s going to be absolutely stunning,’ concluded Flewitt. A road car that McLaren could have sold out three times over, the company states.

Luxury meets velocity

The project, made public in November 2016, is conceived to be the most refined and luxurious McLaren ever. It came out of repeated customer requests for Woking to make another three-seat supercar like the F1 (below), with the driver at the centre of the car to maximise visibility. 

McLaren F1

The upside of this configuration is to maximise space and comfort for the offset passengers, and McLaren will no doubt replicate the prolific glass sections of the new 720S, to create an airy and spacious cockpit befitting customers of its ultimate Gran Turismo.

Flewitt, said: ‘We are calling BP23 a hyper-GT because it’s a car designed for longer journeys but with the high levels of performance and driver engagement expected of any McLaren.

‘The car will also deliver the highest levels of refinement, enabling significant journeys to be undertaken with up to three people aboard.’ 

When will we find out more?

The cars are due to begin arriving in 2019, but McLaren will continue to reveal more info throughout the run-up to that date.

Read more McLaren reviews

By Phil McNamara

Editor-in-chief of CAR magazine